C H U R C H R E F O R M S E R I E S
By Biblicism Institute
Many Christians wrongly assume that the following verse has to do with physical healing:
“And by His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5
That’s because they have been taught thus by “preachers” who have taken it out of context. They should have read the beginning of that verse.
“But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our sins fell upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5
Obviously, it takes an outside influence to teach anyone to mess up such a straightforward and simple verse.
In addition to Isaiah, the Apostle Peter also put that verse in proper context:
“He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His stripes you were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24
By the stripes of Jesus we are healed spiritually, and our sins are thus forgiven. As for physical healing, Jesus demonstrated two methods He used in healing someone.
1. Divine Intervention. He either willed the healing or used His touch and/or a few simple words.
“Then Jesus said to the centurion, ‘Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.’ And his servant was healed that same hour.” Matthew 8:13
“But Jesus answered and said, ‘Permit even this.’ And He touched his ear and healed him.” Luke 22:51
2. Natural Procedure or Intervention. In such an instance, Jesus would use things in the natural world (backed of course by His divine power and will) before letting the healing take place. In other words, by His action He delineated the steps needed for the cure to materialize.
“After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. Then He told him, ‘Go, wash in the pool of Siloam’ (which means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came back seeing. ” John 9:6,7
1. DIVINE INTERVENTION: GOD’S TOUCH
“Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed…” Jeremiah 17:14
Before He left, Jesus gave the command on how His followers ought to proceed vis-a-vis the physically sick.
“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall raise their voices against the serpents (or malicious ones); and if they imbibe any poison (or poisonous doctrine), it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” Mark 16: 17-18
We believers can lay hands on the sick and with a true prayer of faith they will recover (i.e., be healed in time) that the Son of God might be glorified.
However, if a particular sickness is unto death, no amount of prayer will heal the afflicted since a death appointment with that disease has been scheduled by God Himself.
“This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.” John 11:4
In other words, a sickness unto death will cause the death of the afflicted, or the afflicted will either live with it until death (e.g., many natural degenerative diseases that usually accompany old age) or endure it long-sufferingly while subsisting normally. Even the Apostle Paul endured said affliction.
“…a thorn in the flesh was given to me… Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me… For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Cor 12: 7-10
But if a sickness is not unto death, a prayer of faith will bring about a recovery, albeit a slow one. One that is usually preceded by a confession and forgiveness of sins, if any was committed. That confession is not to a “catholic priest”, but to the one who’s about to lay hands and pray and/or to the party offended – whether to God or to some other individual – by the one who’s sick.
“Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.” James 5:14-15
“But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks [i.e., communion], eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged.” 1 Cor 11:28-31
That’s why the Apostle Paul told Timothy the following:
“Do not lay hands upon anyone too hastily and thereby share in the sins of others.” 1 Timothy 5:22
It must first be established whether the sickness is caused by a particular sin that needs repentance before hands are laid and prayers prayed; if not, then whoever lays hand becomes complicit in the sin the afflicted is concealing. Once that concern is alleviated, Jesus’s command to lay hands on the sick can be performed, and a prayer of faith for recovery can be prayed.
The slow-process recovery that follows is a miracle nonetheless. It might not be instantaneous, but it’s still a miracle.
“The LORD will take away from thee all sickness…” Deuteronomy 7:15
No prayer of ours will produce spontaneous miracles. The power source of supernatural wonders and instantaneous miracles was reserved solely for Jesus Christ, the Cornerstone of the church, and the 12 Apostles, the foundation of the Church. See Understanding the Duties of Ministry for an exposé.
“You are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone…” Ephesians 2:20
“And when he had called unto [him] his twelve disciples, he gave them power [against] unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.” Matthew 10:1
When we are sick a spiritual introspection is the first thing that is needed, as opposed to a reactive focus on the physical. Once that’s taken care of and prayers are prayed, if God then reveals His intention to immerse us in natural interventions, we must obey.
2. NATURAL INTERVENTION: DOCTORS AND REMEDIES
“Luke the beloved physician greets you…” Colossians 4:14
There are ailments that worm their way in not because of specific sins but because of certain pathogens that our fallen, entropic nature, which weakens day by day, isn’t fully capable of confronting on its own. The Apostle Paul recognized that and through his God-given wisdom recommended the curative power of natural remedies.
“…use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.” 1 Timothy 5: 23
Ultimately, to avoid diseases we must get to know our body when it “talks” to us, what to feed it, and how to care for it. And if we’re sick it may be that God is trying to tell us something. So we must listen carefully as He delineates the steps needed to be healed.
It may be a myriad of things: toxic-laden food, stress, dehydration, lack of exercise or sleep or prayer, bad diet, toxic medicines, toxic environment, or it may be time to go see a real doctor.
A real doctor is one who understands that God created the body with the capability and the capacity to heal itself, particularly when it is given the right regimen, including ingredients of the God-created, organic kind since synthetic elements do not mesh well with its God-created, organic composition.
Some synthetic medicines may help, especially in trauma injuries, physiological impairments, and systemic organelle breakdowns. Unfortunately, because of their synthetic nature, their long term prescriptive use engenders many side effects, which usually end up destroying some organ of the body such as the liver, the kidneys, the brain, etc. Besides, most synthetic medicines are palliative and do not heal. They predominantly cover up symptoms of the maladies as they do not fix the underlying causes, while at the same time they spawn other diseases via their adverse effects.
True healing takes place when the body totally heals itself and the problem goes away, thus requiring no further treatment. A real doctor understands that. He is someone that God in His mercy has given the necessary knowledge to help and inform us through the healing process.
“For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:6
“In the hearts of all who are skillful I have put skill.” Exodus 31:6
He is notably helpful to those who succumb to accidents and traumas, and to those whose sicknesses appear insurmountable because of their lack of faith.
“Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’ ” Mark 9:24
Therefore, God uses him to help those with a weak faith overcome their unbelief by sparking faith’s hope that healing is possible. That’s how incredibly loving God is.
“That you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love…” Ephesians 3:18
God operates that way because He prefers to cloak Himself with anonymity, especially as it pertains to His healing miracles.
“Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. Then Jesus said to him, ‘See that you don’t tell anyone…'” Matthew 8: 3,4
“…after his brothers had left for the festival, he went also, not publicly, but in secret…” John 7: 10
In addition, He has a worldwide economy to run. He has to provide for a lot of people, doctors included, who are trying to make a living.
Thus, as God provides for these doctors and their fellow care workers, He simultaneously provides through them (or while “hiding” behind them or the remedies) His healing miracles.
Still, even with modern medicine or the alternative kind, there’s no guarantee of success or healing, especially when it comes to certain diseases and/or traumas that God allows to creep in for whatever purposes He has in mind.
“There is none to uphold your cause, no medicine for your wound, no healing for you.” Jeremiah 30:13
In these circumstances many doctors will tell their patients one of the following:
- “All we can do now is pray.”
- “Medicine is not a perfect science.”
The only perfect science is the power of a loving God who demands faith from us.
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6
Faith is not just the belief that God can do the impossible. It is also the firm understanding that God does whatever He pleases and that we must accept it, especially since He also appoints sicknesses that are unto death.
“For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” 1 Peter 3:17
That’s why the Holy Spirit has been given to us, to guide us through all kinds of circumstances. He helps us understand the particulars of the situation God is walking us through: healing, long suffering, or death.
“… the Spirit of truth… he will guide you into all the truth.” John 16:13
Further, even when a real doctor is trying to help, we better pray and have faith that God will guide his thought processes. Otherwise, we may become a statistic. See Beware of Pharmacology and Puzzled Scientists.
God is no respecter of persons, so diseases will hit everyone, Christians or not.
Therefore, if it comes to the point where it’s time to go see a doctor, get busy and locate a real one; then if a diagnostic determines the presence of a sickness, thoroughly research everything on it. However, when it comes to life-threatening illnesses, make sure you get various opinions from specialists who belong to different practice-clusters.
“Without counsel plans go wrong: but in the multitude of counselors they are established.” Proverbs 15:22
Nevertheless, keep this in mind.
Doctors do not heal. Natural and synthetic remedies do not heal. Special regimen and exercise do not heal. They may help or at the most facilitate the healing process. But in the end, the full and final recovery or healing comes straight from the throne of God. He’s the one who decides if all these efforts will take hold.
“I am the LORD who heals you.” Exodus 15:26
Therefore, the most important thing is to have faith in God and in Jesus whom He sent.
“And all things, whatsoever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.” Matthew 21:22
There is Christian purpose in suffering and hardship. St John of the Cross, the celebrated Spanish mystic and poet, wrote a contemplative book about it: The Dark Night of the Soul, available for free in our Resources section.
“Although He (Jesus) was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.” Hebrews 5:8
Read also: Jesus was not a Jew
Read also: Whatever Happened to the Hebrew Tribes?